HomeNewsArticle Display

New Wing Commander: SHARK 1 reports for duty

Lt. Gen. Susan Helms, left, commander, 14th Air Force, presents the 45th Space Wing Guidon to Brig. Gen. Nina Armagno, who assumed duties as the 45th Space Wing commander Wednesday morning in the Base Theater. Brigadier General Armagno is the first person ever to command both the 30th Space Wing Hawks at Vandenberg and the 45th Space Wing Sharks at Team Patrick-Cape," said Lt. Gen. Helms. "She will do an outstanding job here," she added. (Photo by Matthew Jurgens)

Lt. Gen. Susan Helms, left, commander, 14th Air Force, presents the 45th Space Wing Guidon to Brig. Gen. Nina Armagno, who assumed duties as the 45th Space Wing commander Wednesday morning in the Base Theater. Brigadier General Armagno is the first person ever to command both the 30th Space Wing Hawks at Vandenberg and the 45th Space Wing Sharks at Team Patrick-Cape," said Lt. Gen. Helms. "She will do an outstanding job here," she added. (Photo by Matthew Jurgens)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Wednesday was a day to be treasured for Brig. Gen. (Select) Nina M. Armagno.

At 9 a.m., she was promoted to the rank of brigadier general. About thirty minutes later, she assumed command of the 45th Space Wing from outgoing commander, Brig. Gen. Anthony Cotton in back-to-back ceremonies held here at the base theater.

The promotion ceremony was presided over by Gen. William L. Shelton, commander, Air Force Space Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.

Lt. Gen. Susan Helms, former 45th Space Wing commander and current 14th Air Force commander at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., presided over the change-of-command ceremony.

After introducing and recognizing several key military and civilian leaders -- many of whom traveled many miles to attend the duel ceremonies -- Shelton recounted her Air Force career and praised the new 45th Space Wing commander.

"From the very beginning of her career, Nina Armagno has been rated among the best of the best, every step of the way, in every position she was given," he said. "And now, we know she is the right person to lead this wing through some potentially difficult fiscal and manpower challenges over the course of the next couple years.

"She has our full confidence in getting the job done," Shelton emphasized, just before she was "pinned" by her husband, Eddie, and her mother and father.

During the ceremony, Helms agreed that there was not a more qualified person for the job.

"Let's face it; her leadership skills and operational savvy make her the best possible choice to lead the wing and Space Coast community that is so near and dear to my heart," said Helms.

"Not only that, Brigadier General Armagno is the first person ever to command both the 30th Space Wing Hawks at Vandenberg and the 45th Space Wing Sharks at Team Patrick-Cape," she said. "She will do an outstanding job here."

Armagno, a 1988 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, majored in biology. She also graduated in 1999 with a master of arts degree in education administration and management from Chapman University, Calif.

In her first comments as a general, she spoke not a word about herself.

"Like many of you, Eddie and I have a lot of friends in the Colorado Springs area who are currently battling serious Black Forest wild fires," she said."It's bad there right now."

"So, please, let's just pause a moment and keep all those people in our thoughts and prayers, and think about all so many are losing right now," she said solemnly.

From there, she quickly transitioned to the basic "theme" of her message: the importance of family.

With three generations of the Armagno family in the audience she got "up close and personal."

"All of you here remind me everyday what's really important in our lives, and that's our families. Without you being here, this day wouldn't be nearly as special," she said.

"You have no idea how proud and humbled I am to share this day with my family and all of you here today. I can guarantee you will get my best effort every single day."

And with that, Armagno came to the position of attention, saluted the standing-room-only crowd and simply said "SHARK 1; reporting for duty!"